I have just come back from Tartu, the oldest town in the Baltic states. Every time I visit one of the Baltic countries I can’t stop admiring the positive spirit in the people who have suffered so much.The history of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania is a gruesome story to read. All their neighboring countries (except Finns) have conquerred, destroyed, robbed and humiliated them over and over again ever since the 13th century. For example in the 1940s the mass killings organized by the Soviet rule were interrupted by the invasion of the Nazi German troops who merely continued to do the same. During and right after the Second World War 10% of the entire adult Baltic population was deported or sent to labor camps. In 1989 the Balts had had enough of the oppression and they organized a peaceful demonstration called the Baltic Chain in which about two million people joined their hands to form a human chain spanning over 600 kilometres across the three Baltic states in order to show their desire to become independent and illustrate the solidarity between the three Baltic nations.
During my stay in Tartu I had the pleasure of getting to know some native people. A friend told me that all Estonians share a deep affection to sing and dance and in fact I had an opportunity to witness that during my visit when the natives gathered to spent one of their spring evenings singing together all though the night in the night time song festival Öölaulupidu. Nowadays Tartu is a lively university town and the Estonian national identity is on the rise. I just stumbled into this fun blog about living in Estonia http://palun.blogspot.com/ and enjoyed reading many of the posts. I have been to Tartu before and I’m definitely going again. Just to enjoy the company of the kindhearted people who live there and to enjoy the positive spirit of the town that values art and gives its support to the energy and innovativeness found in youth. To have survived the hardships of history seems to have given the people of Tartu the ability to enjoy life and the humbleness to seize the moment. Getting inspired there is easy.